Scouting Maicer Izturis

Maicer Izturis Cliff Notes

  • Signed to a 3yr/$10 million contract (with 4th year club option)
  • Can play 2B, SS, 3B at MLB level
  • 32 years old, former Montreal Expo & LA Angel
  • Has 13.5 career WAR
  • Above average (sabermetrically speaking) base runner and defender

Maicer Izturis shares many similarities to Emilio Bontificio at the plate. Both Maicer & Emilio are:

  • switch hitters
  • excel when hitting the ball on the ground
  • are SB threats
  • lack any real power
  • are pitched to aggressively
  • play multiple infield positions

With that being said, both players excel at one phase of the game– Bontificio steals more bases due to a high SBA (stolen base attempt percentage) & Izturis has a statistical & anecdotal track record as being a plus defender, as well as a clubhouse leader.

He plays very good defensively, as well, and is a good teammate, good in the clubhouse.” Alex Anthopoulos, AP, 11/08/12

Izturis at the plate

Power Game

Note: Unless noted, stats are from 2012 season

  • Near the bottom in fly ball distance (4th percentile) at 244 feet.
  • HR/FB ratio of just 1.3%.
  • .077 BA, .231 OPS on flyballs
Izturis’ overall stat line in 2011 (.276/.334/.388) was propped up by a far above average .840/.829/1.099 line on linedrives. He wasn’t able to carry this number over to 2012, which settled his line back down to .256/.320/.315.
2012 Hit Chart (all hit types; GB, FB, LD)

Hit chart displays his lack of power. He’s a ground ball hitter that can spray the occasional linedrive. But his ISO (.059) is so low that he posses no real threat to opposing pitchers (11 doubles, 2 HR in 319 PA). Past season ISO rates were a shade over .100, which once again is hardly setting the world on fire.

Speed Game:

  • .239 BA, .504 OPS on ground balls (2012)
  • .200 BA, .440 OPS on ground balls (2011)
  • 17 for 19 in SBA in 2012

Unlike Bontificio, a player that can reach base via infield singles, Izturis collects most of his ground ball hits by sneaking balls past infielders.

Here are two small images collecting stats from 2011 & 2012; The first is Bontifico’s infield hits (blue in a single, purple are ROE), followed by Izturis hits.

Approach

  • 3.84 pitcher per AB (51st percentile)

Maicer’s statistics back up the hype–he’s a strong contact hitter that is near the top of the MLB in terms of contact rate (95th percentile) & in-play percentage (92nd percentile). This translates into a strong 38 K vs 25 BB ratio in 319 PA.

Opposing Pitchers

vs RHP

  • (.265/.333/.352, .307 wOBA in 551 PA since 2011)

Pitched up in the zone 38.9% of the time. This is in the 97th percentile, which similar to the way Bontificao is pitched. The list of MLB hitters that are pitched ‘Up’ consists of mostly light hitters and those with speed that opposing pitchers likely do not wish to walk.

Note: This is a general assumption that I will look into later in the off-season 

Top 10 (+ two Jays at #11 & #12)


name team pitches pa Zone% Up
Alexi Casilla MIN 1195 326 0.4795 0.43682
Mike Fontenot SF 411 105 0.49635 0.41849
Jose Altuve HOU 2131 630 0.50258 0.41577
Will Rhymes null 507 137 0.48718 0.41026
Taylor Green MIL 464 117 0.42457 0.40517
Eduardo Escobar CWS 517 146 0.54352 0.39845
Jamey Carroll MIN 2194 537 0.54239 0.39562
Gaby Sanchez FLA 1254 326 0.49522 0.39553
Alexi Amarista LAA 1036 300 0.44112 0.389
Michael Martinez PHI 395 122 0.48101 0.38481
Jose Reyes FLA 2507 716 0.46191 0.38333
Maicer Izturis LAA 1229 319 0.49552 0.38161

Also, similar to Bontifico, Izturis is fed fastballs near MLB high rates, receiving 59.9% fastballs (97th percentile)

vs LHP

  • (.275/.319/.373, .304 wOBA in 262 PA since 2011)

Same story as vs RHP, Izturis is once again worked up to the tune of 94th percentile in the MLB. Fastballs are once again high, also in 94th percentile.

Defense

If advanced defensive metrics are to be trusted, Izturis is a plus defender across the infield (2B, SS, & 3B).

Outside of a poor 2011 season, Maicer has been above average across his career at second base.

Anecdotal Thoughts & Answers

I enlisted the help of Hudson Belinsky,  (@hudsonbelinsky), head writer at  of Halos Daily and a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

I posed the following two questions/statements:

Q1: I don’t have any concrete numbers regarding the upcoming assumption –But I have watched a number of Angels games over the years and it appears that Izturis’ primary job at the plate (and on the diamond in general) is to hit & run, sacrifice, move runners over and be flexible on defence.

Answer: Izturis is a strong contact hitter. He won’t swing and miss often, but the contact is always pretty. He can bunt and move runners, and he has a decent amount of speed, so he is a threat on the basepaths. He isn’t Rajai Davis or Anthony Gose, but he can get in a pitcher’s head.

Q2: Also, while statistically his D appears to be above average, I seem to recall seeing numerous flubs/mental errors from watching Angels games? Is this the case or am I imagining this?

Answer: Defensive isn’t really an issue for Izturis. He seemed to have lost a step in 2012, but he’s still capable of solid-average defense in the infield. His mental errors are no worse or more common than normal. Izturis shouldn’t win a Gold Glove at any one position, but he might be a Gold Glove utility infielder, if that makes any sense.

 

Conclusion:

Maicier Izturis is a capable utility infielder that can play plus D, swipe a bag, and get on base at an above average clip. This combination has translated into a career average of 2.7 WAR per 600 PA

Heading into 2013

Personally, I’d like to see the Jays go into a match-up type platoon at 2B with Izturis & Bontificio–Giving Maicer the start when the Jays send a GB pitcher to the mound, and Emilio the nod when playing against a favourable SB catcher or pitcher match-up.

Notes: Stats from ESPN True Media, FanGraphs, B-Ref. Images from ESPN True Media, Google Images. AA quote via Associate Press, Izturis answers via Hudson Belinsky.

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has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +